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Concern Over Kinsale Mussel Farm

Writes Leo McMahon

Cork County Council’s Bandon-Kinsale Municipal District (MD) is to hold a special meeting to discuss an aquaculture and foreshore application for a mussel shellfish farm in Kinsale Harbour.

Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG) had a motion requesting an urgent discussion on same at the monthly meeting of the MD, with the Harbour Master present, and it was decided to invite him along with an official from the council’s environmental section to a special meeting before the closing date of submissions on March 6th.

The application was made on December 21st by Woodstown Bay Shellfish, Dunmore East, Co Waterford for an area of 25 hectares (61 acres) stretching from The Blockhouse (James Fort) to Money Point. Some submissions have been made including an objection from Kinsale Yacht Club.

Senior executive officer MacDara oHici pointed out that the application was to the Minister of the Marine (Michael Creed TD) and submissions should be made by the public to his department, being the licensing body, not the council.

Kinsale’s harbour master was preparing a submission and would liaise with the council’s environment department, he added.

Cllr Murphy acknowledged the need for the MD to get an expert view but the time for submissions was short. From what he knew, he believed a mussel farm would be detrimental to the harbour, being located close to the popular beach at Castlepark (Dock) and also voiced concern about dredging up to 25 hectares. He didn’t think it would create many jobs and therefore opposed it.

Cllr Gillian Coughlan (FF) said that while it could well be detrimental, she believed it wouldn’t be right for the MD to unilaterally object until it got a briefing.

Cllr Alan Coleman (Ind) said the executive might well make a technical judgement but from a political point of view, elected members should have an input. He felt it was an audacious proposal and was surprised at the choice of location in the middle of an already busy tourist, fishing and commercial harbour and the fact it got a temporary licence.

Cathaoirleach Aidan Lombard (FG) agreed with Cllr Murphy, saying it was a pity details of the proposal were not outlined to elected members.

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